Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari, has stated that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has not recorded any high profile conviction since President Goodluck Jonathan came to power four years ago.
Speaking through his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, at a press conference Thursday in Abuja, Mr. Buhari said EFCC’s inability to record a conviction is in stark contrast to its past record, where former governors and other senior public officials accused of defrauding the Nigerian people were tried and prosecuted.
“Thus, we can safely say that President Jonathan has muzzled the EFCC. “He has turned one of our country’s most respected and revered institutions into a toothless bulldog without even as much as a bark,” he said.
Mr. Shehu said it is startling to see the dexterity with which the President sacked the former chairman of the SURE-P scheme owing to his pronouncement on the desirability of change.
Mr. Jonathan had sacked Martin Agwai as SURE-P chairman after he reportedly attended the birthday celebration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The retired Army General was also reported to have talked about the “desirability for change” in the country.
Mr. Shehu said the president hastily sacked the SURE-P boss, adding “meanwhile, ministers and other senior members of his government who have heavy allegations of corruption hanging on their necks still comfortably retain their positions”.
He said not only did Mr. Jonathan stop the EFCC from doing its job, but that he has also reversed some previous achievements of the commission by granting state pardon to erstwhile government officials whom it had uncovered as guilty of corruption.
“It is no wonder, therefore, that Nigeria remains in an abysmal low on the Transparency International ranking of corrupt countries in the world,” he said.
He added that yet another clear example of the wanton corruption that has become commonplace in President Jonathan’s government is the recent announcement by the Nigerian Senate that the Ministry of Works’ budget has been reduced by 89 percent.
“Who was the intended recipient of the unnecessary, extra 89 percent? Into whose pockets were the superfluous millions intended? And if indeed the 89 percent was essential to the effective functioning of the ministry, is the reduction just an attempt by the PDP government to punish Nigerians for asking for CHANGE?” he said.
Boko Haram allowed to fester.
On the issue of security, Mr. Shehu said the Nigerian armed forces – in collaboration with a multinational force made up of armies of neighbouring African countries – have recently recorded a number of significant victories in the fight against Boko Haram, with about 36 territories taken back from the insurgents over the past few weeks.
“This is commendable. We congratulate our armed forces,” he said.
“However, we cannot ignore the fact that President Jonathan left the issue to fester for too long.
“All this effort could have been applied much earlier, thus saving hundreds of lives and preventing thousands of displaced persons who are currently languishing in camps and homes in northeast Nigeria and parts of Abuja – with little help and attention from their government.
“We cannot but conclude that the Jonathan government allowed Boko Haram fester because of the political mileage gained from the crises. He did not show any concern for the people of northeast Nigeria while they suffered under the continuous, brutal attacks of the terrorists.
“He still does not care about them. For him, a victory over Boko Haram is simply an attempted victory over the hearts of Nigerian voters in the 2015 elections,” he said.
Making Nigeria a laughing stock
The APC Presidential candidate also said President Jonathan is making Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of nations.
He said the President has once again dragged Nigeria into the theatre of the absurd, making a mockery of his office through the current embarrassing debacle with the King of Morocco over a purported telephone conversation.
“This is just the latest in a series of diplomatic faux pas.
“President Jonathan is destroying international relationships that existed before his tenure. He has already earned the scorn of other world leaders, such as Obama, through his poor human rights record,” he said.